In completely obvious news: writing is hard.
In elaboration of the completely obvious news, part of it is the general paranoia I have of just being one tiny fish in a very big pond. The ebook market is ridiculously huge right now; I’ve heard statistics along the lines of 10k new things released on KDP in a single day. And when you hear something like that, it’s a whole lot of good lord how do I even compete? :(
I mean, I have vaguely done it before in a non-pay sort of way; I was never a BNF in fandom, but I had a very nice and very friendly following that helped me feel a lot better about my writing when I was in the young and extremely self-conscious stage of my writer life. I am super-grateful to those people even now! But the pond is much bigger now and my personal stakes feel a whole lot higher.
A couple of years ago (more like five or six at this point, sob), I had this epiphany that helped me calm down a great deal about my writing. When I was much younger and first starting out, I was really extremely invested in validation from my readers. Even now a nice comment will make my day! But when I was younger it was a thing; it was a personal issue; it was like if I didn’t get [x] amount of comments, I had totally failed as a writer. My one consolation is that I never went down the road of holding my writing for ransom, which I have seen happen before (the whole “I want [x] amount of comments before I post the next part!” phenomenon) — no, I just made myself personally very sad, and anyone who was close enough to me to talk to me regularly got the brunt of a lot of that. I do regret that.
But then, like I said, a few years ago, it was like something just flipped in my brain. It wasn’t that I didn’t care any more about comments; I still super incredibly appreciate the nice things people have said to me about my writing. I have saved pretty much every single piece of commentary I have gotten, because when I am having a bad day I like to go back and reread them and cheer myself up. But it no longer became a desperate craving need to get comments; it was simply a feeling of “well, I enjoyed writing this, and I’m glad I did it; I hope you the reader enjoy it too.”
Sometimes I wonder if I’ve come back full circle with my original writing, though — and then I wonder if it’s not that, it’s simply because I care about these characters a lot more than I ever did for the fandoms I wrote for. I still liked them, I was still invested in their stories, but they were always someone else’s creations, to be given back at the end of the day. Now that I am regularly writing original fiction, I am infinitely more invested in these characters, and I want them to flourish and I want them to be widespread. I want them to be read, and I want to find myself another little niche of people whom I can write things for, who will trust when they see my name on something, that it is something I have worked hard on and will be an entertaining story. Maybe not deep literature, maybe not anything incredibly proud, but an entertaining story that pleased you to read.
I was telling my roommates the other day that I don’t want the money so much (though admittedly it is an extremely nice bonus, and I am incredibly grateful for that) as the readers; I want to be able to reach a wider audience and I want to be able to at least be considered readable and worth the couple of dollars people have to pay for it. That’s part of why I have tried to archive all of my original fiction from Imaginary Beasts and Shousetsu*Bang Bang; that’s part of why I’d like to write snippets and freewrites for this blog as a regular ongoing thing. For now, though, I’m working on a much longer story — one that has a bigger scope, world, and cast than I have dealt with in a long time — and part of me is afraid that by taking the time for that (and it could be at least three or four months), I am going to lose what traction I have with the tiny niche of selling I have done now.
On the other hand, I am definitely in for the long haul; I don’t intend to get halfway through and just give up. At this point, I think this hobby is so ingrained in me that I would go completely stir-crazy without it. (At the very least, I would drive my roommates up the wall going on about missing it.) If I lose it, I will just try my hardest to build it up again. And maybe cross my fingers that I’ll just suddenly be able to pour out 5k words a day that are usable and viable and don’t need to be culled on the editing room floor, haha.
(I really want to make it, guys; I really want to just be able to steadily sell and succeed. Wish me luck.)